Thursday, August 18, 2016

Stranger Things – The Energy Department Rebuttal

I’ve never seen the Netflix series Stranger Things, starring Winona Ryder. Apparently some of it takes place in a sinister lab in a forest run by the Energy Department.

This got under the skin of Paul Lester, who runs one of the official blogs for the Energy Department. Uh oh.

Actually, Lester has a sense of humor, and he uses the series as jumping-off points to highlight the work of the Energy Department. He assures us there is no such sinister lab, but they do have one in the Argonne Forest in Illinois. It “was founded to continue Enrico Fermi’s work on nuclear reactors.”

The problem is, I remember watching a show on PBS about how Enrico Fermi was doing secret experiments in Chicago to make a nuclear reactor—in the city itself. He even had a man standing with an axe at a rope holding a bar of graphite. At Fermi’s signal, the man would cut the rope and the graphite would fall into the crude reactor, stopping a runaway reaction. Though if there were a huge burst of radiation, the man would die before he could cut the rope.

For all they knew at the time, a runaway reaction would have devastated Chicago.

So how assured are you feeling now? Nothing to see here? 


Ellie Garratt said...

Gulp. Runs and hides.

Crystal Collier said...

There's the puppet master, and the shadow theater. We see what they want us to see unfortunately.

Mark Murata said...

Wow, that stimulated a reaction (of the social kind). Thank you, Ellie and Crystal. It's amazing to think of the experiments that went on at the start of the nuclear age, and the nearby public knew nothing about them.


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